Home blood glucose (sugar) testing is now recommended for all people with diabetes. Regular tests help monitor your diabetes control and can warn when levels are too high or low.
Normal glucose levels are 4-6 before meals and 4-7.7 after meals. Ask your doctor what are the right targets for you and what to do if your results are too low or high.
High glucose levels >15 (hyperglycaemia) may cause thirst, tiredness, passing lots of urine and blurred vision. Over the long term, this can lead to problems with the eyes, kidneys or circulation. Blood levels rise with food, stress and illness.
Low glucose levels <4 (hypoglycaemia or 'hypo') can cause sweating, hunger, dizziness, headache and loss of consciousness. Levels fall with exercise, a delayed meal or snack, alcohol or too much diabetes medication.
To test the blood, insert a test strip into a blood glucose meter. Prick your fingertip and place a tiny drop of blood on the test strip. The meter will read the glucose level within a few seconds. Be sure to chose the right meter for your needs.
Most people test 1-3 days per week in type 2 diabetes and on a daily basis in type 1 diabetes. Your doctor will advise you how often to test. Test more frequently during illness and after changes in treatment.
It is important to test the blood at different times of the day, usually just before and 2 hours after meals and at bedtime. Remember to wash your hands first.
For people with type 1 diabetes, test strips for blood 'ketones' (a harmful chemical) are also available and are more accurate than urine tests. Test for ketones when you are sick or if your glucose level is over 15.
For more information go to http://www.diabetes.com.au/.
Please note this information was correct at time of printing.
For up to date information, speak to your doctor.